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Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019: What You Need To Know About It

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, also known as CAB, was passed by the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of Parliament, on 11 December 2019 after an intense discussion of six hours by the Members of Parliament.

Venkaiah Naidu, the Vice President of India and the Chairman of Rajya Sabha, had allotted six hours to the MPs to discuss the bill and give their opinion. The CAB received the favour of 125 MPs while 99 others opposed the bill stating it is a violation of the Constitution of India.

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As per lawmakers, the CAB is intended to grant Indian citizenship to minorities who have migrated from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh before the year 2014 and who identify themselves to be Hindus, Buddhists, Parsis, Zains, Sikhs and Christians. They have to have migrated due to religious persecution in the above-mentioned countries. People who identify themselves to be from groups other than these won't be eligible to apply for Indian citizenship.

The CAB was passed by the Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Parliament on Monday, 9 December, with 311 'ayes' (nods) and 80 'noes' (nos), after which a series of protests took place in Assam, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi. After the bill was passed in the Rajya Sabha, the protests became violent.

The major reason behind the violence and agitation of the people is the confusion about the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019. In order to help you understand CAB in a better way, we have noted some points. Read on to know more about CAB.

1. What Is CAB And Who Comes Under It?

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 is a citizenship act that will amend the citizenship of religious minorities who migrated from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan after going through religious persecution. The bill has also reduced the residency duration of these people from 11 years to five years.

Amit Shah, the Home Minister of India said in Rajya Sabha, "Those who have migrated to India before 31 December 2014 and belong to the six religious minorities namely, Hindus, Buddhists, Zains, Parsis, Christians and Sikhs of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh are eligible for citizenship in India."

2. Who Does CAB Exclude?

According to the Citizenship Act of 1955, illegal immigrants can't get citizenship in India. This means that those people who either entered India illegally and without proper documents or stayed beyond their permitted time won't be granted citizenship.

Moreover, people who belong to groups other than the six minority groups of the three above mentioned countries won't be considered eligible for citizenship.

3. Will CAB Affect Indian Muslims?

Since CAB is intended for immigrants, especially minorities from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, Muslims who are native to India have nothing to fear about. The bill has nothing to do with those who belong to India irrespective of their religious groups.

Shah mentioned in the Rajya Sabha, "Those who belong to this country won't face any trouble. They are the citizens of India and they will remain the same." In case you fear that you will be questioned or asked to produce any document lobbying your citizenship of India, please stay away from such false information and trap.

4. Will Muslim Immigrants Living In India Be Deported Back Or Imprisoned?

The CAB doesn't mention anything about the deportation of those Muslims who entered India illegally or have stayed beyond the permitted time. Deporting illegal immigrants don't come under the Citizenship Act, 1955. In fact, they come under the Foreigners Act, 1946, which has a process of deporting those who are illegal immigrants or are living illegally in India. However, CAB protects the above-mentioned immigrants belonging to the six groups from deportation. Shah also said, "The minorities will get full protection and no one should worry or fear from this bill."

5. Why Aren't Rohingyas, Balochistanis, Shias And Ahmadiyyas Included?

The Rohingyas, Balochistanis, Shias and Ahmadiyyas are not recognised as minorities in the Pakistan, Bangladesh or Afghanistan. These countries either have Muslims in a high majority or are Islamic countries. Therefore, it is not possible for the CAB to include Rohingyas, Ahmadiyyas, Balochs and Shias in the bill. But if any Muslim has gone through religious persecution for practising their kind of culture and beliefs, they can get relief under this act.

JP Nadda, the working President of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said in the Assembly, "The Hindus are the minority in Pakistan while the Muslims are in majority."

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6. Will Hindus From Any Nation Get Citizenship?

The CAB clearly mentions the intention to accord the citizenship of minorities from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh living continuously in India for either five years or more than that. It nowhere mentions granting automatic citizenship to Hindus from any nation. If a Hindu from a different nation wants to gain Indian citizenship, he or she needs to live in India for more than five years and only then the person can apply for citizenship.

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